This was not a bad-sized crowd considering it was a Sunday night and I reckon everyone in the Fulford Arms enjoyed tonight’s gig, including the wonderful staff that always give the venue an extra pinch of music fairy dust! Interestingly there were no instruments on stage and while that might seem strange when you read about the performances you will see that it really didn’t matter. To be fair a couple of instruments, a Keytar and a recorder did make appearances later. First up was Matty Groove from Leeds who beatboxes like no one I have ever heard before. He is a true beatbox genius. How does someone develop a talent like that? He did techno, drum & bass, and a great take on “No Limits” the 1993 hit from 2 Unlimited. At one point he had five different noises going on at the same time. His Spotify bio simply says “i speak the groove and sample my mouth” and in a nutshell that is what he does, awesome!
Next, it was A Short Dark Stranger, is he a musician, a performer, an entertainer, a full-on electro lounge singer, or a comedian? Yes to all of those actually! This really was a full-on performance by Mr. Stranger. Well, don’t expect me to give away his secret identity! Anyone who hates the Tories is a good person in my opinion and in at least two of his songs “The World Will Give You Cancer” and “Even Sharks Can Smile” are wonderfully witty and biting in their anti-establishment lyrics. “Pale Blue Dot” based on Carl Sagan’s observation of the insignificance of our planet was great. But perhaps my favourite for which the Keytar came out was “Hindenberg”, a song about the doomed dirigible in the style of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD). He even threw in the synth riff from “Enola Gay” at one point. I can’t pick out the reason, but at times I was reminded of Har Mar Superstar. I definitely hope to see A Short Dark Stranger again sometime.
Finally, it was time for tonight’s headliner Professor Elemental. I knew this would be a good show for many reasons: people recommended it, I have listened to some of his stuff online, and he has comics and tea on his merch table. What other acts have that kind of merch? Dressed in his ubiquitous stage clothes of safari style suit and pith helmet, but this time in a rainbow style, Professor Elemental was keen to make this a really feel-good, happy show and he succeeded and in fact overachieved on that score. The costume was that of one of the great lost characters that should have appeared in that bloody awful remake of ‘Jumanji’. There is no one quite like Professor Elemental, certainly no rapper more totally old school English. The Wall Street Journal described him as “Chap hop’s leading exponent”. He has a huge following in the steampunk community and it is easy to see why. But that is not exclusive, there were clearly fans of all genres of music in attendance judging by the t-shirts being worn in the crowd. There are some great songs in his repertoire, I loved “Noise” during which the crowd kept Susan The Unicorn aloft for the whole track. She had been inflated with whimsy don’t you know! The sleazy businessman costume change for the businessman song was sublime satire. Then there was the amazing off-the-cuff rap accompanied by more amazing beats from Matty Groove. “All In Together” was another great tune that the Professor dedicated to the Fulford Arms team and all the punters. Audience participation was 110% throughout, every one of us did exactly what the Professor asked of us. You need to see Professor Elemental live, you will not be disappointed!
All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.
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